Put a Ring on It

Have you ever heard of “shacking up?”  Now, people describe living together with a more complimentary phrase: “a trial marriage.” And apparently, it’s all the rage:

Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. This shift has been attributed to the sexual revolution and the availability of birth control, and in our current economy, sharing the bills makes cohabiting appealing.

In fact, you may have even recently heard rumors I’m living with my boyfriend.  As that gossip spread a couple of weeks ago, people all over America were applauding me for –finally! – coming to my senses and abandoning my no-sex-until-marriage policy.  Others are saying that me shacking up with my boyfriend is the height of hypocrisy.

Here’s the thing.  It’s not true. As I mentioned before, I recently bought a home across the lake from my parents’ house.  While it’s under renovation, I’m actually living in an apartment on their property.  Rest assured — there’s no way on earth my mom and dad would allow a guy to spend the night here with me.

But even if I weren’t temporarily living on their property, I wouldn’t move in with someone.  Why?  Well, new evidence reported in the New York Times suggests what the Bible has already told us: living together before marriage does not lead to happiness:

Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.

Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabitors were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself.

These so-called “trial marriages” hurt men, women, and children.  So, all of you girls who’ve said yes to sex in the wrong context know this: you don’t have to say yes to living with someone in the wrong context too.

I guess it’s unanimous.  Because now we have the Bible, the New York Times, and even Beyonce suggesting the best way to secure relationship success is to… “put a ring on it.”


Leave a comment below to receive weekly updates, including the best of this blog. You may also enjoy:

A Few Thoughts about Rick Santorum’s Concession
How I Got Over My Very Public Mistakes
Mr. President, When Should I Expect Your Call?




  • jessa

    I’m reading your blog in reverse… and loving every post so far! Keep up the good work!

    • ^^You are^^

      no sarcasm? = palin family member or friend. i’ve read a few of these posts but many of the comments seem to be planted. I bet that Sarah Palin PR machine has a person (maybe a whole team) that run around to different sites on the web and post feverish comments …. I think Bristol’s got a crew like that too.

  • You’re so stupid

    If you weren’t so dumb maybe you’d understand the absurd irony of this blog being written by an unwed mother.

  • Brittany

    I appreciate that Bristol has the mindset to share her opinion, and although I am a huge fan of both her and her mom, I just can’t agree with this. I was a teen mom myself so I can’t imagine going around telling people not to do what I just did. It’s so strange to me. I’m still a fan, and I still respect you Bristol, I just can’t understand this.

  • jessicaski

    Since when do you have a no sex before marriage policy? Pretty sure sex comes before the baby…

    • http://truthbeforedishonor.wordpress.com John Hitchcock

      Since when did you determine recovering drug addicts have no right to tell people to say no to drugs?

      Since when did you decide that convicted felons in prison cannot participate in the “scared straight” programs to keep young first-time offenders out of prison?

      Since when did you determine only sinless people can tell others not to sin?

      Since when did you decide it was not okay for someone to say “don’t make the same horrible mistakes I made”?

      Seriously, Jessica, grow up and quit being a petulant brat.

      • clara

        Dear Bristol,
        I think you are entitled to your own decisions, but I also think that you are too quick in judging other people’s choices. My boyfriend and I lived together for two years, happily – then we got married and are now expecting our first child. I am very happy that we had this experience of living together before committing to each other for life. We were able to get to know each other much better than just ‘dating’, and to be really sure that we wanted to be together for better or for worse. It did work for us, and for many other people. I also have cases of friends who did not live together before getting married (because she wanted “a ring on it”), and separated a few weeks after the wedding. Obviously, there are also experiences of unhappy marriages after cohabitation and happy marriages without cohabitation. Far more important are the people’s motivations, commitment to each other, and maturity.
        Funny, also, how you quote the New York Times (prototype of the neoliberal mainstream media, no?) as an authority in this matter, together with the Bible!
        I wish you all the best in your life, but I think that in general things would go much better if we were ready to acknowledge and respect the worth of other people’s choices.

  • dallers

    The beauty of this country that we live in is the freedom of speech. Everyone of us is entitled to our beliefs and /or opinions. I agree that only God judges however, that does not stop us “humans” from having an opinion on a matter without having to judge the stiuation. The other beauty is if you don’t like other people’s opinions than you don’t have to read, listen, or agree with them whether they are in the public eye or not. A blog can be written by anyone or not. Leaving negative comments is not only pointless but just bad karma. Be happy that we are all different people with different thoughts and all free to decide what’s best for us. Be glad we are not robots all programmed how to live, what to think and what to say. Free will is a gift of God and a proper understanding of his written word brings all the clarity anyone needs because after all living for God is all that matters not what man decides is best for us because afterall look where its gotten us.

  • MJ

    People who are inexperienced with interpreting data make this mistake all the time. Correlation DOES NOT equal causation.
    Your argument is incredibly weak. There’s statistics that show as ice cream sales increase, so does crime. Does this mean ice cream is a menace to society? No, there are other factors (such as increase in temperature, irritability, decrease in resourecs, etc.) that happen during the time ice cream sales increase that can be proven through better statistical measures than a correlational analysis to contribute to crime. As for the cohabitation before marriage issue, real research has shown real other factors contribute to decrease in marital longevity (e.g. less-rigidity in views of divorce) and it has nothing to do with simply living together beforehand. Just like ice cream sales have nothing to do with crime.
    Nice try, but please do not try to interpret statistics to support your faith-based beliefs unless you really know what you are doing. Better luck next time, friend.

  • Nancy Irey

    Love your bog…you go girl..

  • Cohab5Married16AndCounting

    The true “height of hypocrisy” is you (unmarried teenage pregnancy) lecturing anyone about premarital sex and/or cohabitation.

    • Carol

      Some people learn from their mistakes and try to correct them in the future. They also try to help others avoid the mistakes they have made. Palin was 16 she has grown and learned alot in the past 4 years! Should we judge Obama on his actions at 16?

  • Fred C. Dobbs

    What a hypocritical, narrow-minded, and biased asswipe you are.

  • girllikesart

    These blogs remind me of how it is to be twenty one and feel like you are such an adult with such great ideas… and then you go to college and get an education and start to think for yourself and you realize that everything you had spouted out for years was just rhetoric shoved down your throat by your parents and their naivety from growing up in the past generation.
    It is human for an under educated teenage mom who wants to look grown up to say these kinds of ridiculous things but isn’t it our responsibility to demand more from ourselves and each other? These critiques that Bristol receives from people are a direct reflection of the kind of crap she’s dishing out.
    I am thankful that I am not the one selling my parents ideas to the public and making myself a complete hypocrite in the process. These blogs make me happy that I went college before popping out an “illegitimate” child. It makes me happy that I studied hard for both of my degrees and learned to be open minded and accepting of the different types of people in this world. I can understand that different people from different backgrounds have different views and not forcing mine on others doesn’t mean I am a weak individual, in actuality it shows my strength and conviction. So thank you Bristol Palin for being the example of what I never want to be.